Meeting very successful people can demotivate. They often remind me of valedictorians. Valedictorians are rarely motivated by intellectual curiosity. Instead they’re driven by the desire to win plus neuroticism. Of the best students I’ve known, I can’t remember them saying anything that resembled an interesting thought. Valedictorians are fearful people who cannot imagine breaking rules. Basically, they’re boring credialists.
When meeting people that are much more successful than myself, I hope to encounter a fascinating, John Galt-like character. Someone driven by a desire to right the wrongs of the world. Or – at the very least -a person with an interesting outlook on life. To often the highly successful are type-A strivers with small frames of reference and their minds are occupied by boring materialism.